"In the beginning of our country’s history, the United States was considered mission territory, and many priests from around Europe came here to evangelize. The Reverend Joseph Outendirck, a native of Belgium, was appointed the first pastor of the Church of Mandeville. After Fr. Joseph Outendirck there were many mission priests who served Mandeville. The Benedictines would eventually take over Our Lady of the Lake in the early 20th century and would establish the parish school under the Rev. E.J. Lavaquery.
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Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church
"The first religion teachers were the Sisters of Christian Charity. Due to conflicts with the sisters, Rev. J.C. Schmitt would ask the Benedictine sisters at St. Scholastica convent to teach the students, but as the school grew, more and more lay faculty would be needed.
"Under the Benedictine priest Fr. Canisius Bleumel, the present church and chapel, (an outdoor shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help) were dedicated in 1953. He also played a crucial role in the development of the school, serving as a third grade teacher when needed, expanding the school’s cafeteria, and starting a hot lunch program.
"Fr. John LeBlanc would then serve Our Lady of the Lake from 1958-1979. He was known for his energetic demeanor and his devotion to providing children with athletics, so the school’s playground was appropriately named “Fr. John Field”. Fr John turned over his school administration duty as principal to the Benedictine sisters. In the 1970’s the Benedictine sisters would turn over the school completely to the laity, and Fr. John was the last Benedictine priest to serve Our Lady of the Lake as pastor."
"In September of 1890, under the direction of a lay teacher, Father E. J. Lavaquery opened a school, which we now know as Our Lady of the Lake School. Enrollment that year was ten boys and eight girls. The Benedictine Fathers assumed care of the church in 1912, and in 1916 the Benedictine Sisters from St. Scholastica convent in Covington came to Mandeville to help build the school into what it is today. From a starting enrollment of eighteen students, Our Lady of the Lake has grown to over 800 students."
The 1915 Sanborn Map of Mandeville